Motorola Defy (2021) review

GSMArena Team, 03 August 2021.

6.5-inch IPS, 60Hz display

The Motorola Defy has a rather pedestrian display. It is a simple 6.5-inch IPS panel, with 720 x 1600-pixel resolution, which works out to about 270 ppi. It only does 60Hz and pixel response time is not particularly impressive either, with signs of ghosting when you scroll slowly. Kind of disappointing for a phone that costs over EUR300 these days as that sort of money can actually get you a high refresh rate FullHD AMOLED panel. However, we still need to take into consideration the specialized nature of the Motorola Defy here.

Motorola Defy (2021) review

The Motorola Defy 2021's display doesn't get overly bright, topping-out at 436 nits in our tests. That means that while not perfect in terms of outdoor visibility, it is still serviceable. And thanks to the rather deep black levels, contrast on the Motorola Defy is actually quite good when indoors.

Display test 100% brightness
Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G (Max Auto) 0 846
Samsung Galaxy A32 (Max Auto) 0 814
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro (Max Auto) 0 725
Poco F3 (Max Auto) 0 716
Poco F3 (Max Auto) 0 716
Realme 8 (Max Auto) 0 657
Realme GT 5G (Max Auto) 0 650
Realme X7 Max 5G (Max Auto) 0 640
Poco M3 Pro 5G (Max Auto) 0.366 536 1464:1
Poco X3 Pro (Max Auto) 0.4 534 1335:1
Poco X3 Pro (Max Auto) 0.4 534 1335:1
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G 0 514
Poco F3 0 511
Poco F3 0 511
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G (Max Auto) 0.275 492 1789:1
Motorola Moto G30 (Max Auto) 0.241 468 1942:1
Poco X3 Pro 0.327 458 1401:1
Realme 8 0 458
Poco X3 Pro 0.327 458 1401:1
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro 0 457
Realme GT 5G 0 443
Motorola Defy 0.23 436 1896:1
Realme X7 Max 5G 0 433
Poco M3 Pro 5G 0.28 413 1475:1
Motorola Moto G30 0.204 403 1975:1
Samsung Galaxy A32 0 393
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G 0.236 385 1631:1
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G 0.21 377 1795:1
Motorola Moto G50 0.199 362 1819:1

Color accuracy is not a strong suit on the Motorola Defy. There are a total of three color profiles to choose from - Saturated, Boosted and Natural. There is no white point adjustment or fine-tuning control beyond that.

Color profiles - Motorola Defy (2021) review Color profiles - Motorola Defy (2021) review
Color profiles

All of the profiles appear to be aiming for the sRGB color space, but none of them quite manages to get there. Saturated mode is the default and it manages to reproduce a pretty balanced color palette overall - pretty accurate reds and a bit too saturated blues. Boosted doesn't do much for the blues, but oddly, despite its name desaturates reds a bit. Natural comes closest, though it is still far from what could be considered accurate. Interestingly enough, the white point seems to be the biggest issue in this mode. If a temperature slider was included in the OS, we could probably warm things up a bit and actually get good color accuracy, but that's not the case.

The Motorola Defy actually has the highest Widevine L1 DRM, which is great to see, but also kind of a waste, given the phone's native 720p+ resolution. Netflix does successfully pick up the L1 certification, but only offers HD streaming. Anything more would be a waste.

Netflix playback support - Motorola Defy (2021) review DRM info - Motorola Defy (2021) review HDR support - Motorola Defy (2021) review HDR support - Motorola Defy (2021) review
Netflix playback support • DRM info • HDR support

Interestingly enough, Netflix says that there is no HDR support available on the Motorola Defy and indeed, its specs don't advertise any either. The panel in question is likely not capable of reproducing HDR even though on a software level, the phone does report HDR10 and HLG support.

Battery life

The Motorola Defy has a 5,000 mAh battery at its disposal, matching the Motorola Moto G30, which we recently reviewed. In fact, both phones also use the same Snapdragon 662 chipset and have pretty similar HD+, 6.5-inch displays. The G30 can do 90Hz, but we have already proven in the past that the jump up from 60Hz to 90Hz rarely puts a noticeable strain on the battery with modern panels. All of this suggests that the Motorola Defy should have pretty similar battery endurance to the Moto G30 and that is indeed the case.

Motorola Defy (2021) review

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

Video test carried out in 60Hz refresh rate mode. Web browsing test done at the display's highest refresh rate whenever possible. Refer to the respective reviews for specifics. To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage patterns check out our all-time battery test results chart where you can also find all phones we've tested.

The Motorola Defy did great all around. It's modem is super efficient during both standby and calls, pushing it over 43 hours in the latter category. That's what you want to see from a phone that might often find itself away from mains power from prolonged periods of time. 16 hours or so in the two on-screen tests are also great. Overall, no complaints regarding battery life.

Charging speed

The Motorola Defy (2021) ships with a 20W charger in the box. It is a Quick Charge 3.0 unit, rated for 5V/3A, 10V/2A, and 12V/1.67A output. Once again - this is a familiar setup, just like what was included with the Moto G30.

Expectedly, charging speeds between the two devices are just as similar as their battery endurance numbers. The Motorola Defy does seem to top off a tad slower, but the variance is within margin of error. Starting from zero, the Motorola Defy gets up to 31% in 30 minutes and a full charge takes a bit over two and a half hours. Hardly record-breaking numbers, but still a bit better than many budget devise out there.

30min charging test (from 0%)

Higher is better

  • Poco F3
    67%
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    67%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    65%
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 4G
    58%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    50%
  • Poco X3 Pro
    50%
  • Motorola Moto G100
    37%
  • Poco M3 Pro 5G
    33%
  • Motorola Moto G30
    32%
  • Motorola Defy
    31%
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    25%
  • Poco M3
    25%
  • Motorola Moto G50
    23%
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    23%
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    20%

Time to full charge (from 0%)

Lower is better

  • Poco F3
    0:56h
  • OnePlus Nord CE 5G
    1:03h
  • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 4G
    1:04h
  • Poco X3 Pro
    1:08h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    1:13h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    1:21h
  • Motorola Moto G100
    1:54h
  • Poco M3 Pro 5G
    2:00h
  • Samsung Galaxy A32
    2:19h
  • Motorola Moto G30
    2:28h
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    2:29h
  • Poco M3
    2:30h
  • Motorola Defy
    2:33h
  • Motorola Moto G50
    2:35h
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    3:03h

Speaker test

The Motorola Defy has a single bottom-firing speaker at its disposal. Kind of disappointing, since a stereo setup can easily be had for this kind of money elsewhere. Even a hybrid stereo setup with the earpiece would have been appreciated. Just like the display, clearly compromises have been made to fit a rugged device within the price frame.

The speaker isn't particularly loud, nor incredibly richly sounding. The Motorola Defy has an equalizer for the loudspeaker, called Audio effects. It is quite flexible and you can dial-in a sound profile of your liking, but it can't do much to overcome the deficiencies of the speaker.

Audio effects equalizer - Motorola Defy (2021) review Audio effects equalizer - Motorola Defy (2021) review Audio effects equalizer - Motorola Defy (2021) review
Audio effects equalizer

We did try out the default balanced present and it managed to slightly improve frequency response in the lows, while also decreasing the maximum loudness a bit in the process. Not by much, though.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Maybe a scam for office workers but definitely not for outdoor works. Regular phones don't survive a week or a month in a fish market or a coal mine. Even rugged phones die after a year of regular use on those harsh environments. Putting a rugg...

Ulefone does have a 500g rugged mobile phone, they are known as the Swiss Army Knife in mobile phones, Power Armor 13 with a capacity of 13,200 mAh.

  • cyber

ulefone is a low end chinese junk,this one at least is made by lenovo which is not that bad